Breastfeeding Newborn Twins

As a first-time mum pregnant with twins, I wasn’t quite sure if breastfeeding would be possible. The books I read were pretty encouraging, but my ‘twin club’ (in the US) was full of first-time mums who had wanted to breastfeed but weren’t able to for various reasons. I decided I would try my best.

Jack and Niko were born by c-section at 37 weeks. The first day was a blur of nausea, nurses, doctors, and putting babies to breast. My milk didn’t come in. The boys were losing too much weight. Doctors mentioned formula, and it seemed like the only option. I used a ‘supplemental nursing system’ (SNS), a clever devise that lets you feed baby through a tube attached to your breast. Reading the packaging, which touted treatment for ‘failure to thrive’, sent me into a hormonal down-spiral. Is that what’s going on? Then a nurse tried to show me how to tandem feed while using the SNS and I dissolved in a pool of tears. It was all too hard!

At last tiny drops of milk appeared when I pumped, so I ditched all the tubes and football holds and just held one tiny baby at a time, and stared in wonder as he sucked away.  With my husband’s help I eventually mastered tandem feeding. Looking down on them as they fed I was truly amazed at what my body was doing. The boys, fraternal twins, had really different feeding personalities. Jack would wolf down his milk in a few minutes, while Niko would take his time, and linger.

I was back at work full time when they were 9 months old. We had a nanny and lived close enough to work that I would come home at lunch and breastfeed. I also pumped once a day and they would have a bottle in the morning. There was still plenty of time to breastfeed - all night long!  While this was exhausting, I didn’t try to night-wean.  At some level I enjoyed the closeness of the night feeds.

I had always thought breastfeeding toddlers was a bit weird, and not something I pictured myself doing. Yet here I was with two little guys who could walk up and sign for milk!  In fact it felt perfectly natural. I night-weaned around 15 months, and we did bedtime and wake-up for months after. I was happy and felt I could do this forever. Around 20 months they got increasingly squirmy and distracted at bedtime, so I used ‘don’t offer don’t refuse’ and they quickly dropped the bedtime feed. At 23 months they skipped a morning or two, and then Niko skipped a bunch and was done. Jack soon followed.

My boys are six now, they can make themselves a snack, and they help us cook dinner. Jack still wolfs down his food, and Niko still lingers. It’s a lovely reminder of one of my first glimpses of their personalities and of a breastfeeding journey I’m so grateful I could take.


Zanna Chase - 2013


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